The coronavirus pandemic swept across the world in 2020 and changed people's lifestyles Image Credit: Stock photo/Pixabay

Abu Dhabi: Prosecutors have warned passengers and operators who fail to declare visits to Saudi Arabia’s COVID-19 red list will risk a SR500,000 fine, local media reported.

Earlier, Saudi Interior Ministry announced a three-year travel ban and hefty penalties on citizens who visit countries on the kingdom’s COVID-19 red list, including India.

Travelling to the banned countries is an obvious violation of COVID-19 related travel restrictions and the Kingdom’s updated instructions, it said.

The ministry added that those who do not abide by these travel rules risk facing legal action and heavy penalties upon their return.

It called on citizens to be careful and stay away from areas where the virus is spreading and follow all precautionary procedures to protect themselves from contracting the infection.

It is also prohibited to travel to countries grappling with with the spread of mutated strains of the virus.

The countries on the kingdom’s red list are the UAE, Libya, Syria, Lebanon, Yemen, Iran, Turkey, Armenia, Ethiopia, Somalia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Afghanistan, Venezuela, Belarus, India and Vietnam.

Saudi nationals are barred from travelling, directly or indirectly, to these countries, unless they obtain special permission to do so.

Expats who are stranded abroad due to the current travel restrictions will have their residence permits extended until August 31 automatically and for free. Apart from residents, the validity of visit visas for visitors who are in the countries from where entry is suspended will also be extended until August 31.